There are a couple of things you can do to boost your local business marketing and start selling to a local audience.
The first and easiest thing to do is to list your business on Google for free.
Listing your business with Google is quick and easy. By getting your business to show on Google maps, people who search for relevant goods or services in your area will be able to find you. That’s because Google prioritises websites that are both relevant and local to a search.
When you list your business on Google for free, you’re giving Google a clear understanding, not only of what your business is, but where it is.
Get Your Business to Show on Google Maps
Perhaps you’ve seen something like this when searching online:
Here I searched the word ‘shoes’, and the first thing Google presented me with was a map with a list of shoe stores nearby. When you get your business to show on Google Maps like this, you’re increasing your visibility to your local audience. This is particularly useful for businesses who only operate in a small area.
The best thing about this form of local business marketing is that it’s totally free!
You’d be crazy not to do it.
Here’s How to List Your Business on Google for Free
Step 1 Head to Google my Business.
If you’re not sure whether or not you’ve already set up a Google My Business listing, enter your business name into the box provided. Otherwise press the ‘add your business to Google’ link that’s underneath.
Step 2 Fill out your business name:
You’ll be asked some questions about your business. First, fill out your business name.
Be sure to write the actual name of your business. Don’t try to throw keywords into this section or you might wind up getting your listing suspended.
Step 3 Select the most relevant category to your industry:
Start typing your industry into the box provided. Your exact business may not be in the list, so you might want to play around until you can find the closest fit.
Step 4 Enter your physical address:
If you have a physical address that your customers can visit, this is the place to put it.
If you don’t have a physical address for your business, you’ll be asked to list your ‘service areas’ instead. For example, you may list that you offer your services Australia-wide.
If you don’t have a physical address for your business, don’t provide your home address. Remember, this is a public listing and it’s best if you keep your place of residence to yourself … unless you’re particularly keen on strangers knowing where you live.
Step 5 Enter Your Contact Details:
You want your customers to be able to contact you, don’t you?
Here you can list your contact details such as phone number and web address.
Step 5 Enter Your Mailing Address:
To verify your business, Google will ask you to enter your postal address. This time you must fill this out if you want your listing to be found online.
Google won’t display this information on your listing, it’s purely for verification purposes.
Step 6 Finish and Manage the Listing:
You’re just about done setting up your listing. Soon it will be time to start adding information about your business to your profile.
Step 7 Wait For You Postcard:
Google will send a postcard to your address. The code inside will allow you to verify your listing. Google My Business says it may take up to 6 days for the postcard to arrive, but my first one took three months, so patience may be needed here.
Once the code arrives, log back into your account. On the home screen you will see an option to ‘verify now’. Click the link and enter the code you received into the box provided.
Step 8 In the Meantime…
It may take a while for your code to arrive, but don’t worry, there are things you can do while you wait. You can still flesh out your listing and get it ready to go once it’s verified.
Step 9 Fill Out Your Information
On the home page, Google provides a list of tasks that will complete your listing. Click on the ‘+’ key next to each task to start updating your details.
Step 10 Fill Out Your Open Hours:
Simply indicate which days you’re open. Google also gives you the option to add what times you’re open each day. If you’re open all the time, select the ’24 hours’ option.
Step 11 Describe Your Business:
Next you can offer a description of your business. Remember, this is an advertisement just like any other. You’ve got to sell yourself to your target market or they won’t click on your listing.
Try to make your description as accurate and compelling as possible. And … perhaps something a little better than the description below.
Step 12 Add Your Services:
People want to know what services you offer. Save them time by including them on your listing. The more your target market knows about your business before they even click on it, the better.
Remember, it’s your job to make it as easy as possible to buy from you or hire your services, so make it easy for them.
Step 11 Keep Filling Out Information:
In the list on the left hand side of the home screen, there’s an option marked ‘info’. Click on it and you’ll be presented with more opportunities to fill out details about your business.
Step 12: Keep Your Target Market in the Loop:
Think of your website as more than just an advertisement. Keep your target market in the loop with new deals, events and announcements.
Once your website is verified, you’ll have access to the ‘Posts’ section where you can add new information and announcements to your listing as you go.
What Else Can You Do With Google My Business?
There are many useful tools you can use when you list your business on Google for free. Google my Business offers simple analytics tools called ‘Insights’ that you can use once your listing has been verified.
You also have the opportunity to respond to reviews, answer messages, list products, and even add other users to manage your listing.
Google for Local Business Marketing
When you get your business to show on Google Maps, Google is essentially advertising your business to a local market for free.
By providing useful information and current updates, you’re establishing a relationship with your target market and building trust (the inclusion of photos and reviews is especially useful for this).
Listing your business on Google is quick, easy, relatively painless, and most importantly, free! So take the time to set up your account to get your business selling locally.
It’s the cheapest advertising you’ll ever get!